CBS's Pizzey: Child Sex Abuse 'A Plague of Biblical Proportions' in Catholic Church

Allen Pizzey and Maggie Rodriguez, CBS On Friday's CBS Early Show correspondent Allen Pizzey made the over-the-top declaration that allegations of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church amounted to "a scandal that's threatening to become a plague of biblical proportions." A headline on-screen declared a "Catholic Crisis."

Pizzey was reporting on Pope Benedict XVI's efforts to address the scandal in a soon-to-be published Papal letter, but noted that such a statement "seems unlikely to assuage the anger of victims in parishes ranging from the U.S. to Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Brazil." Pizzey cited one victim of abuse, Andrew Madden, who argued: "I don't think a pastoral letter is the proper context in which to respond to a report about the cover-up of the rape of children."

Madden has made his opinions of the Catholic Church well-known on Twitter. One of his tweets reads: "Actual photo of the Devil at work in the Vatican," with a link to a picture of Pope. In response to another tweeter complimenting him on a recent television appearance, Madden replied: "do my best, but these really are the scum of the earth, I'd never have said that 6 months ago but I truly believe it today."

Later in his report, Pizzey accused the Pope, once a German archbishop, of being complicit in a cover-up of sex abuse: "In fact, the practice of protecting offending priests at the expense of the victims involved even the Pope himself. When he was an archbishop in Germany, at least one known offender was moved from one parish to another." Pizzey of course provided no evidence of then-Archbishop Ratzinger having any direct knowledge of or involvement in the scandal. Perhaps Pizzey was simply reading another tweet from Madden: "If the Catholic Churh [sic] is to be led by a man who reflects it, then maybe it should be led by a man who has covered up for a priest rapist."

Pizzey concluded his rant against the Church by once again painting with a broad brush: "What really matters is how far the Pope will actually go to righting a massive wrong that just seems to keep on spreading."

Ahead of Pope Benedict's first visit to the United States in April of 2008, Pizzey attacked Pontiff's commitment to traditional Catholic principles: "a man who was once known as God's Rottweiler. As Pope he has not gone out of his way to appease the more liberal wings of the Catholic Church in the U.S."

Here is a full transcript of Pizzey's report:
7:10AM

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Some news this morning out of the Vatican. Pope Benedict is set to publish a historic letter addressing and apologizing for Roman Catholic priests who've sexually abused children. CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey is in London this morning with the story. Good morning, Allen.

ALLEN PIZZEY: Good morning, Maggie. Well, the Papal letter of apology is the latest effort to save the Catholic Church from a scandal that's threatening to become a plague of biblical proportions. Even Benedict has admitted that the church has been, as he put it, 'severely shaken.'

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Catholic Crisis; Papal Apology on Pedophilia to be Released]

POPE BENEDICT XVI: My hope is that it will help in the process of repentance, healing, and renewal.

PIZZEY: The letter will be released tomorrow, but seems unlikely to assuage the anger of victims in parishes ranging from the U.S. to Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Brazil.                        

ANDREW MADDEN [VICTIM]: I don't think a pastoral letter is the proper context in which to respond to a report about the cover-up of the rape of children.

PIZZEY: Government-ordered inquiries in Ireland have documented cases of abuses and cover-ups between the 1930s and the 1990s that involve more than 15,000 children.

MADDEN: Children were sworn to secrecy, having made allegations against a priest, and subsequently that priest was allowed to carry on being a priest.

PIZZEY: In fact, the practice of protecting offending priests at the expense of the victims involved even the Pope himself. When he was an archbishop in Germany, at least one known offender was moved from one parish to another. German bishops have now recommended what they termed 'a compulsory registration' of suspected sexual and physical abuse cases to state prosecutors. 'I don't want to blame the Pope,' the Archbishop Reinhard Marx said, 'we as bishops have the responsibility in our dioceses.' Be that as it may, what really matters is how far the Pope will actually go to righting a massive wrong that just seems to keep on spreading. Maggie.

RODRIGUEZ: Allen Pizzey in London for us this morning. Thanks a lot, Allen.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC